Spam, zoning, gloom

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

You wouldnt believe the amount of spam comments Ive had to sift through lately. I could make commenting a ‘password’ option that requires registration but I dont like to feel that Im stifling free expression. At the same time, I’m getting tired of comments about herbal viagra, knockoff watches, and foreign pharmacies. I am especially amused with all the remedies for premature ejaculation…not sure why they call it premature, ’cause when youre ready,well… youre ready!
Damn spammers.
Speaking of things that make everything go a little red around the edges, heres a little something from, as expected, California. Now, I’m not against zoning laws….okay, maybe I am just a little. But when the county sends its pencilpusher to give you notice thats one thing, to have him accompanied by armed goons with attitudes is just begging for trouble. Personally, I feel that if I’ve got fifty acres and want to live in a handbuilt shack thats pretty much my own affair as long as it isnt screwing with the neighbors enjoyment of their own space. These folks, from the sound of it, did bring a bit of it on themsleves by not filing paperwork that they should have but a bad law is a bad law. And even if it isnt a bad law sending a couple armed goons is no way to do business. Why anyone lives in California is beyond me. My greatest fear is that someday I’ll actually have the resources to build my little bunker out in the boonies and some overzealous bureaucrat behind a desk will cut me off at the knees whenever I want to do something.
Watching the news these days is like watching a stick of dynamite sitting atop a lightning rod – its gonna happen, you just arent sure when, but every moment that passes brings it inevitably closer. I suppose I should stop watching the news but that seems incredibly counterproductive. On the other hand, since I’m fairly convinced that we’re on the road to disaster whats the point of following the news….spend my time working on mitigating the effects it’ll have on us. Maybe I’m just a news junkie but I really feel like I need to know whats going on in the world.

Still, I wonder how this economic situation can’t lead to Big Problems.

Gun storage

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

According to well-meaning but highly abrasive gun rights zealot Gary Marbut, the average Montanan owns 26 firearms. I recall a furniture store here in town that was listing its odd lots at blowout prices. One of the ads said something like “Gun rack, six gun capacity. About as useful in Montana as a 2 cubic foot beer fridge.” Me and the missus are usually pretty discreet about how many guns we have. It’s no secret we have them, its just a kinda-sorta secret exactly how many. Obviously, some of those guns need to go into storage. I have some guns, Glocks most notably, that I acquired solely for the purpose of squirreling away and not shooting. Oh sure, I shot them when I first got them..I fired a couple mags to check function, adjust the sights as necessary and then stick ‘em away in the back of the safe for that rainy decade when handing someone a LNIB G17, three mags and a box of hollowpoints might make the difference between being very unhappy or very safe. Anyway… About the only firearms I don’t worry about storing are Glocks, stainless guns, and true military finish (parkerized) guns. Keep em dry and they’ll pretty much just sit there just fine for an eternity. However, some stuff, if youre going to sock it away for a while, needs a little help. The Firearms Blog had this post about some anti-corrosion firearms storage bags. These arent exactly new…the military and factories have had similar packaging available for years. Bianchi came out with their commercial product, Bianchi Blue bags, but they seem to have disappeared from the scene. Brownells, as well as a few other outfits, offer a similar product. The ones from ZCORR seem to take things a step further and offer a port in the bag to allow a vacuum to be used to evacuate air, and presumably contaminants like moisture, from the bag.

Interesting product and certainly one that Im sure people could find useful. If I lived in some humid redneck state where the humidity is like breathing through a wet, hot towel I would almost certainly be using something like those bags for the long-term storage of certain firearms. Fortunately, this region of Montana is only a couple inches of rainfall away from being classified as a desert. Humidity and its effect on firearms isnt a bif concern. (Although in the winter, bringing a cold firearm into a warm house will result in condensation and that is a concern.) Also, the vast majority of our firearms have what you might call a ‘military finish’ which is pretty resistant to most environmental hazards. Nonetheless, being a suspenders-and-a-belt kind of guy, I do sometimes pack things away in a bit more hardcore fashion. Usually the pistols go into perfect-condition ammo cans after getting a light wipedown with some gun lube. Rifles…well, theres only one good way to preserve a rifle and, infortunately, it aint cheap. A good solid Pelican/Hardigg case with a little desicant tossed into it will suffice in this region. Pack it up in the case, tuck it under the bed or in a crawlspace and it’ll probably be just as fresh and crispy in twenty years as when you packed it up.

Personally, I’d spend the money and get a properly sized Pelican/Hardigg case. They make them in enough of a variety of sizes that you can store however many guns however you like. Some will hold a rifle/pistol combo and some will simply just hold a dozen pistols. Not cheap when you buy new, but you might find a deal on a used one. If the commercial case is just too much for your budget, excellent condition military ammo cans are probably the next best thing. No problem finding them in pistol size but finding them in a rifle size can be tricky and the shipping can get a bit spendy…but you’ll still be ahead of the game, dollarwise, than if you bought a $900 hardcase. On the other hand, if youre really serious about what youre doing, and you look at the big picture over the long term, a $900 case comes out to around $3 a month to protect a rifle and scope over thirty years. I dunno…might be worth three bucks a month to know that an AR,870 and G17 will always be in perfect condition for your use over the next thirty years.


Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Remember this post about those moments when something happens (or you think something happens) and you’re suddenly quite painfully aware of just how not ready you are?

Yeah, just had one of those.

Im sitting in the shop, literally minding my own business, when the wind starts to blow. The roof rattles a bit and -pop- the power goes out. Now, you have to understand, in regions like this power transmission is almost always above ground. Wires and poles. So the question is – how widespread? And all I could think as the computer fizzled away was “Its 80 degrees out and I have a freezer with several hundred dollars worth of meat sitting at home.” I really need to push getting a generator into a high priority position.

As it turns out the interruption was only for about a half hour and fairly localized. While power at the shop was gone, the house was fine. I keep a MagLite here at the shop (naturally) so I was cool in that regard but -500 points for my police radio (Motorola MT1000) not sitting in the charger and having a dead battery. Bad, bad, bad. The cellphone was unresponsive, so Im guessing my nearby cell tower didnt have its backup generator going. Land line still worked though. On the bright side, I could recharge the cellphone off the small solar charger we picked up last week.

My nextdoor neighbors at the shop are a woodworking shop that is housed in, essentially, a bunker. The building used to be a grocery store back when grocery stores actually kept product on hand. Theres a cavernous space under the parking lot that they use for their shop facilities. Problem is, its entirely underground which means when the power goes it its darker than Obama’s political future in a coal mine. Usually when the power goes out I trot over there with my MagLite and a few light sticks and help the denizens find their way out of the place. For some reason my landlord has never installed emergency lighting down there. I may get him a simple setup for Christmas or something.

But..I need to do watt/amp/load math and find a good, affordable generator that’ll handle the freezer. Do a little homework and then shop Craigslist, Im thinking.

Ruger 77/357

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Wow…send enough suggestions to Ruger and you might get lucky and have them actually build what you want!
Ruger is bringing out a .357 bolt gun!
Im a fan of the .357 and would think that a little carbine like this would be a handy number for deer and smaller game. Dirt cheap to shoot, too! And since its only a niggling .002″ difference between a 9mm and a .38 bullet Im sure the 9mm suppressor would work nicely with some big n’ slow bullets. yeah, Im going to have to put some money aside and get me one or three of these.

For the record, the other things I nag Ruger for are a 357/9mm convertible DA revolver, a .357 version of the .44 semiauto carbine, and the reintroduction of the 9mm & .40 ‘police’ carbines.


Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Went on a little camping trip over the weekend with mixed results. It was a nice opportunity to try out some gear. Elevation was around 7200 feet, there was still snow on the ground, it rained the whole time, and at night it got down to around 35 degrees. Not really optimal conditions for a pleasant summer-y campout.

I was interested in taking the least bulky gear possible. For sleeping, I took a military bivvy sack, my Kifaru Woobie and the Wiggys insulated poncho. I figured I’d nest them all together and that would work well enough. In theory, I was right but in practice it left something to be desired. The problem was that while the Woobie had ties to allow you to configure it as a sleeping bag, the Wiggys did not. So, while I was in the Woobie, the Wiggys would slide off or otherwise undo itself from around me inside the bivvy sack. As a result, it got a bit chilly. I think if I were to order the insulated poncho from Wiggys I would ask them to send it with no snaps or closures at all and I’d put them in myself so I could put them where I wanted to facilitate conversion to an impromptu sleeping bag. However, once morning came, wandering around with the insulated poncho over myself was quite warm and comfortable. However, the whole package of bivvy sack, Woobie and Wiggys did compress down to an impressively small bundle. Westerm Mountaineering makes some nice down bags that compress quite nicely, the missus has one. But I’m a bit reluctant to go with a down bag since, as we all know, once it gets wet your pretty much SOL. (And “dont get it wet” isnt an option…life is too unpredictable.) Not to sound like a broken record, but Kifaru makes a couple synthetic bags that are similar to the Woobie and should compress down quite nicely in conjunction with their compression stuff sacks. Anyway, sleeping was uncomfortable and a bit chilly but it didnt kill me, I didnt get hypothermia and I did get some sleep so I suppose in that manner things worked out.

My Svea 123, although a bit heavy, performed nicely as expected. It’s pretty much a bulletproof little stove. As it turns out, it fits perfectly inside my Snow Peak cup…so thats a nice little space saver.

More Kifaru goodness…I brought along a Kifaru Parahootch for shelter. This thing is a slick piece of work. It compresses down to about the size of a softball. Plenty of room on the inside for one person and some gear (or two really chummy people) and kept me dry. An excellent choice for packing ‘just in case’ you might get forced to spend the night out somewhere. Takes up less space but provides more coverage than a poncho shelter. You can improvise the support poles using either hiking poles or sticks you come across…the Parahootch has marks sewn into it to show you how long each stick should be if youre improvising them. I borrowed this one from an LMI buddy to see how I liked it and I think I might have to get one. An interesting alternative is one of the paratipi shelters from these guys. Nice setup but much, much heavier to pack.

Other than it being wet and cold, it was mostly an enjoyable experience. I think we might wait another couple of weeks until its a bit warmer before doing this again.


Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Well, at the moment the most interesting thing going on around here is a manhunt for a ‘militia’ figure who, after having traded bullets with the police, calmly took his gun and fanny pack from his vehicle, walked into the woods, and disappeared. Speculation is that he had cached supplies for just this sort of situation.

This guy is one of the ‘Project 7′ dudes from a few years back. The usual ‘lets start the revolution today’ crowd that still seems to have some voice these days. Not to be confused with the other assorted organized and unorganized groups of dissatisfied customers that live here.

I was talking to the wife yesterday about this guy and said that I would bet he’s got everything he needs stashed away and that he’d probably make it outside the police cordon pretty easily.

Much like the Robert Rudolph episode, I’d be very curious to know, when this is all over, how this guy evaded capture and what he had stashed away. He’s not the first guy to do this sort of thing. The Four Corners guys did it but their plan imploded almost immediately and the last body was only found in the desert just a year or so ago.

In addition to being a ‘militia type’ this fella is also described as a ’survivalist’. :::Eyeroll::: Its getting to the stage where anyone who feels comfortable out in the sticks and owns a gun is tagged with that moniker.

Should be interesting to see what shakes out over the next few days. The 1990’s were the heyday of organizations like these and many of them quietly faded away or disbanded as the realities of real-life became more pressing than the need to ‘overthrow’ or ‘restore’ the government….but there are still quite a few true believers running around. A couple organized groups too, I’m sure.

Restless natives

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I am starting to wonder if there is anyone I know who isn’t either contemplating the end of the world as we know it, or preparing for the same.

I was chatting with someone last week and we were talking about food and diet. I said “Yeah, of course if I suddenly decided to give up things like grains I’d wind up with a ton of storage food I cant eat.” He commented that, hey, he and his wife were trying to put together a years supply of food. The conversation, naturally, turned in that direction and I loaned him a few books on the subject. I also emailed him some links and told him that I’d be happy to answer any questions he may have. This wasnt too surprising, I’d suspected that, to some degree or another, this person had some interest in preparedness. Apparently, I was right. I think this means that I know virtually no one in this town who is not, in some way, preparing against some sort of impending apocalypse, imagined or real.

Today, I was talking to someone and I asked, quite casually, how the sale of his out-of-state property was coming along. He said he hadn’t any takers yet, but that was okay because if the world ends it would be a good place for him to move to. He said the nearest population center was x miles way, game was plentiful, and there was no problem with water, etc. So, again, someone I didn’t suspect turned out to at least be thinking along similar lines as me and a surprisingly large amount of people I know.

So, either the handwriting on the wall is becoming more and more apparent and people are planning accordingly or “Hammer Fever” is contagious. (Hammer Fever was the name given in the book ‘Lucifers Hammer’ to the sudden interest in preparedness exhibited by some people when they discovered that a comet would be passing uncomfortably close to the earth. But you knew that, right? Go read the book.)

Personally, I welcome any who is interested to the fraternity of preparedness. Mostly because, in Darwinian fashion, I want those people who think like me to be the dominant forms of life. Im sure that in other parts of the country there may be survivalists of a more left or liberal stripe, but every survivalist Ive ever met has been, to some degree or another, pretty like-minded with how I think politically and socially. Not always, mind you, but often enough. I’m sure there are lefty, commie, share-the-wealth survivalist types out there but in my day-to-day life I’ve never met one in person. Of course, the right leaning survivalists dont automatically qualify as being the same as me either…especially the superstitious/religious ones…but I can usually get along with them better than the ones at the other side of the spectrum.

Regardless, I’m always pleased to discover someone else is thinking along similar lines as myself.


Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

It’s an interesting disparity of compassion that when some homeless guy asks me for change I either ignore him or ask him why, if he has two good arms and legs, why he doesnt have a job and maybe take some initiative in his life; yet when a doggie shows up on my steps, looking lost and hurt, I’ll bring my life to a complete halt and work the phones for hours to get him back to his home.

We were minding our own business when Nuke suddenly started acting nuts. Looked outside and there was the most pathetic looking little dog sitting on our steps. One of his legs was shaved and had a couple bolts and a steel rod bolted to it. Poor little guy. We called the number on his tags and got voicemails. The owner finally called and came by to pick him up. Turns out he lives a block down the street. Poor little guy. Last thing he needed was a big lug like Nuke knocking him around so I kept the newcomer (“Arlo”) in the yard until the owner got him. Poor guy.

Made me want to go into the house and hug on my dog for a while.
Someone pointed this out to me. Its a piece of property for sale on Craigslist that, if you read all the features, looks like it was someones BOL. Sounds nice except for the trailer home. I dont care how nice, modern and cozy they are….you can fill it with hookers and cocaine and it still aint worth $75k.

Extended reply to comment

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

This came up in the comments section and its worth putting into a post:

Let’s imagine that you pass away comfortably in your bed many years from now, wife by your side and dog by your feet. Toilet paper and fresh fruit and vegetables are still readily available daily at your local grocery store. Hi-cap magazines are still legal, and ammo is available at Walmart 6 days out of 7. Gas is 10 bucks a gallon and silver is $70 an ounce, but hey, that was probably gonna happen anyhow.

So basically–if you die comfy in your home and the S never hits the F, do you leave this world with any regrets on how you lived your life and spent your efforts?

If you have medical insurance and you die of old age, having never been sick a day in your life, do you look back at it bitterly as a waste?
If you have homeowners insurance and never, ever, have anything happen that causes you to file a claim was that a waste?
If you stockpile food in your pantry against the day you can’t get anymore food and that day never comes to pass, was that a waste?

Of course not. Those forms of insurance allowed you to enjoy your life because those risks/threats had been reduced/mitigated/transferred. I would imagine that every person who prepares for the end of the world would be happy to die in their sleep at a ripe old age never having to have lived through Katrina, a civil war, a depression, or a pandemic. If the missus and I spend the next forty years in a boring routine of filled supermarkets, electricity at the flick of a switch, clean water from the tap, heat at the push of a button, and entertainment upon demand, and we never have to crack open a single can of freezedried spaghetti I will consider that a tremendous success and not regret a single dime spent.